Business counts the cost of bad weather - with some surprising results

Drivers are still facing problems
Drivers are still facing problems

The great indoors has proved the place to be for people in South Tyneside to avoid Britain’s Siberian cold snap.

As potential shoppers stay away, many businesses have reported poor sales and roads, bus and Metro disruption has added to the chaos.

Traffic heading south on the A19 Testos Roundabout, Boldon.

Traffic heading south on the A19 Testos Roundabout, Boldon.

But the winter chill has not proved all bad news on the borough’s retail front.

Parents of children off due to school closures have found relief -with The Dunes indoor play centre in South Shields reporting booming business.

Some retailers have also performed well, with Asda saying sales of some products, including carrots, have jumped as people stock up.

Council chiefs are warning residents, especially drivers, to take extra care amid a continued Met Office amber weather warning.

The Dunes, assistant manager Marie Scott.

The Dunes, assistant manager Marie Scott.

A spokesman said: “South Tyneside Council and partners continue to deal with the impact of heavy snowfall across the borough.

“All resources have been deployed. Gritters have been working 24-hours a day since Sunday and will continue to do so to keep priority routes open.

“Residents are encouraged to stay safe, keep warm and look out for others. Please take time to check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone.”

Bosses at the seafront The Dunes, which includes an indoor adventure play centre and bowling alley, said school shut-downs had been a boon to business.

EJ's Cafe, Denmark Centre, Ashleigh Smith, left, and Kerry McGow.

EJ's Cafe, Denmark Centre, Ashleigh Smith, left, and Kerry McGow.

Marie Scott, assistant general manager added: “We did close early on Wednesday and Thursday to help staff but Friday has been much better, I think because the schools are shut, and parents are looking for somewhere nice and indoors that they can take their children.

“We are benefitting from the bad weather.”

Nigel Binnie, owner of menswear stores Northern Threads, in South Shields town centre, said business had been steady, with many shoppers making the effort to get out and about.

Ashleigh Smith, owner of EJ’s Café, in the Denmark Centre, South Shields, closed her business on Wednesday and opened only a half-day on Thursday due to the biting cold.

The entrance to the Tyne is battered by high seas.

The entrance to the Tyne is battered by high seas.

She said trade had improved yesterday, with hot meals being the order of the day – but estimated business was at only half its normal level.

She added: “We closed completely on Wednesday. Staff couldn’t get in and there were no buses running. Part of our business is deliveries, which we do by vehicle and on foot, but much of that hasn’t been possible.”

Council chiefs in South Tyneside said drivers should continue use caution with continued snow and drifting caused by wind are making road conditions hazardous.

Despite gritting teams working around the clock, they advised motorists to only venture out if necessary.

They expect primary and secondary routes, such as main estate roads and routes to schools, to be treated over the weekend and said grit stocks were being replenished daily. Waste collections, suspended since Wednesday, should resume on Tuesday, and the borough’s Recycling Village remains open.